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In sci-fi novel about climate collapse in Connecticut, Tochi Onyebuchi locates hope in the local

Author Tochi Onyebuchi standing in a park.
Katie Pellico
/
Connecticut Public
Author Tochi Onyebuchi's latest book plays out a near-future climate apocalypse in his home of New Haven.

When we hear about the climate crisis, it can often be framed as a future or somehow distant dilemma. But environmental justice advocates point to the many ways present-day discriminatory practices and policies have resulted in stark instances of environmental racism here in the U.S.

One acclaimed Connecticut author's latest work of science fiction helps to reframe the climate crisis as inherently local, all while confronting issues of race, class, and gentrification.

Tochi Onyebuchi’s Goliath envisions his home of New Haven in the not-too-distant future, ravaged by climate crisis and abandoned by the mostly-white class of people who can afford it. Like his last book, Riot Baby, Goliath carries pressing real-world implications.

Onyebuchi recently wrote for the New York Times about how the process of playing out climate apocalypse in writing the novel was challenging, but brought about "a newfound and intense interest in the Local." He writes, "I don’t know about glacial retreat, but I know about armed Fulani herdsmen encroaching on my uncle’s home in Jos, Nigeria. I don’t know about marine-isotope stages, but I know what my firefighter cousin tells me about the diverse mandate of his work. I don’t know about the world, but I know about downtown New Haven."

This hour, he joins us to discuss.

GUESTS:

  • Tochi Onyebuchi: Author, Goliath; Winner, New England Book Award; Finalist, Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and NAACP Image Award

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Katie is a producer for Connecticut Public Radio's news-talk show Where We Live. She has previously worked for CNN and News 8-WTNH. She enjoys Victorian novels and walks with her dog Sonny.
Lucy is the Executive Producer and Host of Connecticut Public's morning talk show, 'Where We Live.' She’s a longtime public radio reporter covering several beats including immigration, juvenile justice and child welfare issues, education, veterans affairs and the military.